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Bloomie's Integrates Web, Catalogs

Cincinnati-based real-world retailing giant Federated Department Stores Inc. is integrating its bloomingdales.com e-commerce site with its Bloomingdale's By Mail businesses, and will call the new entity Bloomingdale's Direct.

"The restructuring of Bloomingdale's catalog and e-commerce operations reduces redundancies, streamlines operations and creates a more efficient organization ... " said Jeffrey Sherman, chairman of Federated Direct.

However, the move does not mean job losses. A Federated spokeswoman told internetnews.com there are "absolutely no job cuts and down the road we may be expanding."

The integrated bloomingdales.com and Bloomingdale's By Mail will share inventory and fulfillment operations and be serviced by a single planning and merchandising division under the supervision of Bloomingdale's Direct management. The integration is scheduled for completion by fall 2001.

Federated named Franz Weiglein, a 10-year veteran with catalog clothing retailer Land's End Inc., as president of Bloomingdale's Direct.

Federated already completed a similar restructuring of its macys.com and Macy's By Mail operations. An e-commerce pioneer, Federated established macys.com as a free-standing business unit back in June of 1998.

Although nothing online is ever likely to beat the experience of in-person shopping at the legendary New York store, "customers throughout the country will be able to enjoy the unique experience of selecting Bloomingdale's merchandise, as well as the celebrated special events that we'll bring to life on the Web," said Michael Gould, chairman of Bloomingdale's.

Merchandising and planning functions will be consolidated in New York for both catalog and e-commerce operations, Federated said, and Bloomingdale's Direct buyers will begin buying for both the catalog operation and bloomingdales.com immediately. Consolidated finance, Web management, human resources and technology operations, supporting both online and direct mail operations, will be managed by Bloomingdale's Direct.